LINCOLN, Neb. - The combination of Nebraska offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles, Spencer Long, Cole Pensick, Andrew Rodriguez, and Brent Qvale have 77 starts between them, appearing in 153 total contests.
Sirles – 28 starts (40 games played in)
Long – 27 starts (27 games played in)
Pensick – 1 starts (23 games played in)
Rodriguez – 8 starts (26 games played in)
Qvale – 13 starts (40 games played in)
The group has chemistry, probably more than at any point in the Bo Pelini era.
“This is the closest we have been as an o-line,” said senior guard Spencer Long on Saturday after the Huskers' first spring practice. “We have had a lot of games together and a lot of playing time on the o-line. I think it's going to be one of our strengths this year.”
One offensive lineman expected to contribute in major ways this fall is junior Jake Cotton, who has never made a start, but was slotted as a first-team guy on Saturday in practice.
“We are depending on him. He has no choice, he has to fit in well. I think he will,” said Long. “Jake has a little bit of playing time, but he really knows what it takes out there. He has practiced with us day in and day out. He knows what it will take to not only start, but remain solid in that spot. We don't have to tell him. He knows he has to do it or not keep up.”
Cotton will play opposite of Long, who was a second-team All-American by the Associated Press in 2012.
“My biggest weakness is consistency. I need to become a better football player in that area,” said Long. “I need to eliminate the same mistakes. I have a lot to work on and it will be good to have a lot of time this spring to work on stuff.”
“(As a team) we need to work better together with the combination blocks. We need to be more consistent in that category,” said the senior. “It seemed like we had a couple big plays left out there last year because one guy was left unblocked. So it's really about being consistent. One guy can be the difference on a touchdown.”
The Huskers will hold their second practice of the spring on Monday afternoon.